Sustainable Development Summit Concludes in Johannesburg: UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan Says It's Just the Beginning
Johannesburg, 4 September Efforts to promote sustainable development
received a major boost today as the World Summit on Sustainable Development
concluded today with significant commitments to improve the lives of people
living in poverty and to reverse the continuing degradation of the global
"This Summit makes sustainable development a reality," United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said at a closing press conference in Johannesburg
yesterday. "This Summit will put us on a path that reduces poverty while
protecting the environment, a path that works for all peoples, rich and poor,
today and tomorrow."
"Governments have agreed here," Mr. Annan said, "on an
impressive range of concrete commitments and action that will make a real
difference for people in all regions of the world."
The overriding theme of the Summit was to promote action and major progress was
made in Johannesburg to address some of the most pressing concerns of poverty
and the environment. Commitments were made to increase access to clean water
and proper sanitation, to increase access to energy services, to improve health
conditions and agriculture, particularly in drylands, and to better protect the
world's biodiversity and ecosystems.
The major outcome document, the Plan of Implementation, contains targets and
timetables to spur action on a wide range of issues, including halving the
proportion of people who lack access to clean water or proper sanitation by
2015, restoring depleted fisheries by 2015, reducing biodiversity loss by 2010,
and, by 2020, using and producing chemicals in ways that do not harm human
health and the environment. In addition, for the first time countries committed
to increase the use of renewable energy with a sense of urgency,
although a proposed target for this was not adopted.
But rather than concluding with only the words of an agreed document, the
Summit has also generated concrete partnership initiatives by and between
governments, citizen groups and businesses. These partnerships are bringing
with them additional resources and expertise to attain significant results
where they matter-in communities across the globe.
"The Summit represents a major leap forward in the development of
partnerships," Mr. Annan said, "with the UN, Governments, business
and civil society coming together to increase the pool of resources to tackle
global problems on a global scale."
As a result of the Summit, governments agreed on a series of commitments in
five priority areas that were backed up by specific government announcements on
programmes, and by partnership initiatives. More than 220 partnerships,
representing $235 million in resources, were identified during the Summit
process to complement the government commitments, and many more were announced
outside of the formal Summit proceedings.
The true test of what the Johannesburg Summit achieves, Mr. Annan said, are the
actions that are taken afterward. "We have to go out and take action. This
is not the end. It's the beginning."
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Department of Economic and
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24 August 2006